A9 ‘Block View’ and Yellow Pages Go Away

Amazon-owned A9 never had much consumer usage but it was one of the most innovative and interesting search engines, with many distinctive features. Two of those features — Maps/Block View and Yellow Pages — are now gone. Udi Manber, the professor-cum-CEO of A9, left for Google awhile ago. Since that time the site has been rudderless.

Here’s the official explanation of the changes. Amazon still has yellow pages, which is where the A9 YP queries resolved to anyway. But Amazon doesn’t really promote its YP product.

A9’s street-level “block view” early-on helped ignite the mapping feature competition that is still playing out among Google, Yahoo!, MSN and AOL (MapQuest).

Amazon has kept certain of A9’s defining elements (e.g., multi-panel search interface) but made the site somewhat simpler and more familiar from a consumer point of view. Block View was probably also a cost center that didn’t yield an ROI.

But the culprit here is Amazon, which wanted to develop its own search engine to compete with Google (A9 powers site search on Amazon; web search on A9 is in turn powered by Microsoft). But the shopping giant never really put much promotional muscle behind A9.

I don’t suspect it will do so now. And given how entrenched the general search market is, don’t expect much to change despite the changes at A9.

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Here’s more from Reuters and Danny Sullivan at SEW.

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3 Responses to “A9 ‘Block View’ and Yellow Pages Go Away”

  1. Amazon Gets into ‘Social Search’ « Screenwerk Says:

    […] But, given its recent retrenchment around A9 and this new service, it appears that Amazon is placing bets around this new brand and A9 will likely disappear over time. […]

  2. A9's New Look and Emphasis on Products « Screenwerk Says:

    […] search. It also had an innovative interface and other novel features, all of which were basically thrown out after CEO Udi Manber went to Google (probably out of […]

  3. Maps Take Center Stage at Where « Screenwerk Says:

    […] street-level photography in its innovative “block view” offering, which the company shut down last […]

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